Engler Center: Patron Circle for fundraising to replace needed equipment


Karin Juhl and Alex Bowe

Engler Center: Patron Circle for fundraising to replace needed equipment

By Karin Juhl and Alex Bowe

The Engler Center’s tech booth is an essential part of any production, providing lights and sound. However, various parts of the tech booth have not been upgraded because of lack of funds and are currently malfunctioning. (Karin Juhl)

The Engler Center for the Performing Arts (ECPA) is a central part of the school district and community for many performing arts students as well as community members who come to see performances.

When the new high school was being built, a generous donation from the Engler family made the performing arts center as nice a space as it was. However, over the past 20 years, lack of funding has caused many pieces of equipment to not be replaced, resulting in failing equipment.

The ECPA is given a 10-year capital budget of $686,000, which has to cover safety, maintenance, tool/scene shop supplies and various repairs.

One of the biggest repairs needed at the moment is the light board in the tech booth, which has been glitching.

Junior Brody Waldron, who often works in the tech booth, said, “Theater electronics are expensive, no matter how small. As the theater hits 20 years old, more things fail every day. We have had to work around this by not using certain lights or mics for some shows because one failing component makes them inoperable.”

With a limited budget, items like the lightboard have had to go unfixed. Along with that, the center is not able to replace the scrim, the white curtain used behind scenery; curtains; or the sound board booth computer, which is currently a 2008 model.

In need of these upgrades to continue the safety and general upkeep of the center, ECPA Director Jenie Farrell has started the Patron Circle. Through this, donors can specify where their funds go. Those interested in donating can go to the Engler Center website: www.EnglerCenter.com.

Mrs. Farrell has had to also take the time to apply for grants. She was fortunate enough to be awarded $5000 from the Violet and Ruben Laack Memorial Fund Grant, to help with various tech needs in the center.

If the Engler Center was not funded, Mrs. Farrell said, “We would still do productions, but just not at the same level. There would be no mics or stage lights. And if we don’t have replacements, we don’t have theatrical extracurricular education, and we want to have students learn more about the theater.”

Mrs. Farrell hopes we can continue to bring more theater opportunity to the Chilton community.

The ECPA’s goal has been and continues to be bringing students and the community together through performing arts and theater education.

Senior Alex Hein, who has performed on the Engler Center stage many times, said that the theater students at CHS wish to continue this goal into the future.